I love drag queens. My hat is off to any man who has what it takes to tuck, pluck, and don those dresses.
Gender bender films are fun, but nothing brings me sheer joy and kid giggles like a drag queen who owns the stage with a larger-than-life presence.
I was an undergrad at UK the first time I went to a drag show. Nothing in my life had prepared me for walking into a bar full of sequined gowns, high hair, and even a performer with flaming torches and a boa constrictor…
Perhaps the most inspiring thing about drag queens is that, in spite of the costs in terms of jobs, friends, family, and general social disapproval, they manage to find an inner strength that allows them to express themselves in ways that shake up the norm and wake us up to hidden assumptions about gender and sexuality. Drag queens occupy the liminal spaces outside the gender binary of male/female. And aside from that rather academic sounding observation, they make life fun!
Some of my friends say that they don’t get the whole drag thing. Some have suggested that drag is a gross caricature of what it means to be a woman. But drag isn’t about being a woman. As RuPaul famously said:
I do not impersonate females! How many women do you know who wear seven inch heels, four foot wigs, and skintight dresses?
When Logo re-ran the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race last week, I was once again reminded of the testimony of Ms. Nina Flowers, a drag superstar who shared part of her struggle to be true to herself in the face of a macho Puerto Rican heritage and the price to family relationships.
The second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race has just begun. We’ve only seen the first episode so far and no one is striking my fancy just yet. But I’m sure someone will rise to the top soon enough…